|Class:||RS Sophomore||40 time:||4.60 (estimated)|
As opposed to most position groups in the 2014 NFL Draft where the early-round talent pool has evaporated somewhat over the course of the college season, the wide receiver group is one that has seen several big-time players emerge during 2013. It may now be the deepest area in the class, and one of the players with serious potential who could be entering the draft is Florida State redshirt sophomore receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Besides the obvious fact that his exceptional size and athleticism will make him desirable to NFL scouts, Benjamin probably will also be influenced by the fact that he’ll be turning 23 years old this coming February. After repeating both third and seventh grade and dealing with some legal issues that hindered his development as a teenager, Benjamin was 20 by the time he became a Seminole. Since he has a relatively short period of time in which he could be capable of being dominant as a pro, Benjamin would be wise to bite the bullet now and enter the league. While it may cause him to be drafted lower than if he would’ve stayed in school an extra year, it gives him a greater opportunity to be productive during his prime.
Benjamin is still rather raw as a player, and his greatest asset at this point is a body that has already been compared to those of dominant NFL wideouts Calvin Johnson and Alshon Jeffery. With this body comes great athleticism; he has some serious jumping ability, and his long arms enable him to make even the toughest of catches. Once he gets the ball in his hands he is very difficult to bring to the ground.
On the flip side, there are plenty of aspects of Benjamin’s playing style which leave something to be desired. He’s not the fastest receiver in the world and has been projected to run around a 4.6 40-yard dash. More importantly, though, he has displayed a lack of effort which could test the patience of his coaches, teammates, and fans if he doesn’t make a change in his approach. He often looks as if he is jogging through routes, he doesn’t always give all he has when he’s trying to break away from defensive backs, and he drops balls that should be easy catches purely because he slows down while running towards the ball.
Benjamin’s athleticism alone is enough to make him a second-day pick, but a good combine performance is something that could probably give him a little push up on draft boards. A capable 40 time as well as a good effort in the receiver drills would alleviate some of the concerns that currently exist with him. His floor is probably the third round, but if he does enough to impress over the next few months he could conceivably be a late first round pick.
- Big, athletic body
- Positions himself well to make tough catches
- Nearly impossible to take down once he gets into the open field
- Long arms allow him to stretch for balls that most receivers wouldn’t get to
- With only three years each of high school and college experience, still has the ability to improve significantly
- Doesn’t fully use his size to his advantage when getting off the line; needs to be more physical when he is battling defensive backs to get open
- Lackadaisical, sluggish running style
- Effort seems inconsistent; looks like he’s jogging through some routes
- Catching skills need to be improved
- Over-aged; two years less developed than players who are a year or two younger than him
Benjamin had a very good 2013 season for a Florida State team that will be appearing in the BCS National Championship game early next month. While he didn’t do a whole lot to separate himself from the pack in a Seminole passing attack that was ranked ninth in the nation, he was still productive, catching 50 balls for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns.
2014 Draft Projection: Second Round